In purchasing the Dawson County Free Press in Lamesa, Walter Buckel entered the newspaper business in 1967.
In March 1968 Buckel, 108th president, merged his paper with the Lamesa Reporter. James Roberts had just bought the Reporter from Ben Woodson. Buckel was named president and publisher of the Lamesa Press Reporter.
Prior to his work in newspapers, Buckel spent seven years in radio sales and management. Before that, he worked for Lamesa public schools directing cafeterias and transportation. He also ran for county clerk and won two-year and four-year terms before resigning in 1957 to enter the insurance business.
During this period, Buckel had his own daily radio sports program and was a play-by-play announcer of all sports. He played a summer of amateur baseball in Manhattan, Kan., and for the Lamesa Loboes of the Class D, West Texas-New Mexico League.
His career then included stints at Pampa and Idaho Falls (Idaho) before being called into service with the U.S. Air Force. After two years overseas, as a radio operator in North Africa, he was discharged in November 1945.
He played with the Montgomery (Ala.) Rebels of the Class B, Southeastern League, the Dallas Rebels of the Texas League and then Lubock and Lamesa where he became the team’s business manager.
Buckel married Rubye Neile Mitchell in March 1947. They have two children. His son Bob Buckel was TPA president in 2002-03.
Buckel was president of West Texas Press Association in 1982-83. He was inducted into the Texas Newspaper Foundation Hall of Fame in 2008.